October 7 morning skate notes: Line rushes, Joe Thornton, more - LA Kings Insider

A good afternoon to you from Silicon Valley, Insiders. The Kings took the SAP Center ice shortly after 11:00 a.m. and hinted at the following lineup:



-Scratches would appear to be Andy Andreoff, Jonny Brodzinski and Paul LaDue; they remained on the ice for extra work with Brooks Laich and Darcy Kuemper. Jonathan Quick left the ice first and is expected to start in net versus the Sharks, against whom he has a record of 14-9-5 with a 2.61 goals-against average and a .907 save percentage in 30 games, all starts. Here’s a nice article by Clay Fowler of the LA Daily News on Jonathan Quick’s importance to the Kings. And, from Curtis Zupke of the LA Times, a reflection on the season opener by the three players who made their NHL debuts on Thursday.

-Say, remember late June, when the Kings were zeroed in on Joe Thornton as a top free agent target? I’m not sure if anyone really expected him to sign in Los Angeles given, you know, the decade-plus animosity between the Kings and Sharks during his tenure, but that sure would’ve been weird to envision, right, Drew Doughty? “I think it would’ve been tough for him to come to us after playing for this team for so long and creating so many battles against each other. It probably would’ve been tough for him and I don’t think the San Jose fans would’ve been too happy if he had came to L.A., so I’m not surprised he didn’t [sign with us].” More from Doughty, on San Jose’s core and their perceived “window” of opportunity: “Well, theirs is a little older than ours I would say, so their window is closing faster than ours is closing. But Joe Thornton is however old and he’s still the best player on their team. So it’s pretty special when you can be the best player on your team for all twenty years you’re in the league. You know you’re a special player when you do that. Every time he’s circled when we play him, and every time its usually my job and my partner’s to shut him down.”

-Discussed prior to the morning skate: the last time the Kings won their first two games was… wait for it… 2002-03. Glavin! That year, the Kings started 3-0-0 with wins over Phoenix, Detroit and Anaheim, and then lost 32 of their next 48 games. That year, Adam Deadmarsh played the final 20 games of his career. I will tell this to anyone who is interested: the 2000-02 Kings were being set up for something special. Boo, injuries.

-No changes are expected to San Jose’s lineup. Their likely alignment includes Labanc-Thornton-Pavelski, Boedker-Couture-Hansen, Donskoi-Hertl-Meier and Karlsson-Tierney-Ward up front and defensive pairings of Martin-Burns, Vlasic-Braun and Dillon-DeMelo on the back end. Martin Jones is expected to start in net. More, from Curtis Pashelka of the Mercury-Tribune: Sharks spent $5 million to improve ice at SAP Center. Is it helping? I also strongly recommend this excellent piece that came out three weeks ago in the Merc, courtesy of Daniel Brown: Where have you gone, Tim Lincecum? In search of beloved Giants ace.

-Tonight’s officials are referees Jean Hebert and Kevin Pollock, and linesmen Brandon Gawryletz and Kiel Murchison. John Stevens quotes will follow. Enjoy your Saturday, Insiders.

-Lead photo via Rocky W. Widner/NHLI

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Jake Muzzin

#6 | 6′ 3″ | 216 lb | Age: 27

Born: Feb 21, 1989
Birthplace: Woodstock, ON, CAN
Position: D
Handedness: Left


Muzzin was drafted in 2007 by the Pittsburgh Penguins, before signing to the Kings in 2010. He has since become the first Woodstock, Ontario professional athlete to win a major sports trophy.

Anze Kopitar

#11 | 6′ 3″ | 224 lb | Age: 29

Born: August 24, 1987
Birthplace: Jesenice, SVN
Position: C
Handedness: Left


As the 11th overall pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, Kopitar became the first Slovenian to play in the NHL. Kopitar has spent his entire NHL career with the Kings, and following the 2015–16 season, was named the Kings’ captain. Noted for both his offensive and defensive play, Kopitar was awarded the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the best defensive forward in the NHL in 2016.

Drew Doughty

#8 | 6′ 1″ | 195 lb | Age: 26

Born: December 8, 1989
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: D
Handedness: Right


Bio: Doughty is a Canadian defenceman who was selected second overall by the Kings in the 2008 Draft. Doughty made his NHL debut in 2008 as an 18-year-old and was named to the All-Rookie Team. He is a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Kings, a two-time Olympic gold medallist with the Canadian national team, and a Norris Trophy finalist.

Tyler Toffoli

#73 | 6′ 1″ | 200 lb | Age: 24

Born: April 24, 1992
Birthplace: Scarborough, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right


Toffoli is a Canadian professional ice hockey forward, drafted by the Kings in the second round of the 2010 Draft. Toffoli scored his first career NHL goal in his second game in a 4–0 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes in 2013. He was also named the 2012–13 AHL All-Rookie Team.

Jeff Carter

#77 | 6′ 4″ | 215 lb | Age: 31

Born: January 1, 1985
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right


Carter began his hockey career playing in the Ontario Hockey League in Canada before joining the AHL and playing for the Philadelphia Flyers. He was then traded to the Colombus Blue jackets before joining the LA Kings in 2012, where he has since won two Stanley Cups with the Kings.

Jonathan Quick

#32 | 6′ 1″ | 218 lb | Age: 30

Born: January 21, 1986
Birthplace: Milford, CT, USA
Position: G
Handedness: Left


Bio: Quick is the current goaltender for the LA Kings and was selected by Los Angeles at the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. Previously, Quick was a silver medalist with USA at the 2010 Winter Olympics. He’s won two Stanley Cup championships with the Kings, along with being the most recent goaltender to be awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs.